Victor Babeș

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Victor Babeș
Victor Babes.jpg
Victor Babeș
Born 4 July 1854
Vienna, Austrian Empire
Died 19 October 1926(1926-10-19) (aged 72)
Bucharest, Kingdom of Romania
Nationality Romanian
Occupation bacteriologists
Known for rabies
infectious diseases

Victor Babeș (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈviktor ˈbabeʃ]; 4 July 1854 – 19 October 1926) was a Romanian physician, biologist, and one of the earliest bacteriologists. He made early and significant contributions to the study of rabies, leprosy, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases.

The Romanian universities Babeș-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timișoara bear his name.


Born in Vienna (at the time, the capital of the Austrian Empire) as the son of Vincențiu Babeș, a Romanian from the Banat region, he studied in Budapest, then in Vienna, where he received his doctorate in science. Attracted by the discoveries of Louis Pasteur, he left for Paris, and worked first in Pasteur's laboratory, and then with Victor André Cornil.

In 1885, he discovered a parasitic sporozoan of the ticks, named Babesia (of the family Babesiidae), and which causes a rare and severe disease called babesiosis. In the same year, he published the first treatise of bacteriology in the world, Bacteria and their role in the histopathology of infectious diseases, which he co-authored with Cornil.

Babeș's scientific endeavours were wide-ranging. He was the first to demonstrate the presence of tuberculous bacilli in the urine of infected patients. He also discovered cellular inclusions in rabies-infected nerve cells. Of diagnostic value, they were to be named after him (Babeș-Negri bodies).

Babeș was one of the founders of serum therapy, and was the first to introduce rabies vaccination to Romania. His work also had a strong influence upon veterinary medicine, especially concerning prophylaxis and serum medication.

He became a professor of pathology and bacteriology at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. He was also a member of the Romanian Academy (in 1893), of the Paris Académie Nationale de Médecine, and an officer of the French Légion d'honneur.

His nephew, Aurel Babeș, was also a physician, and discovered a screening test for cervical cancer.


  • Babeș-Ernst bodies: metachromatic inclusions in the cytoplasm of Gram-positive bacteria such as diphtheria
  • Babeș-Negri bodies: inclusions in rabies-infected nervous cells
  • Babesia: parasites of the family Hemosporidiae
  • Babeș-Bolyai: main university in Cluj-Napoca

Selected published works[edit]

  • Über Poliomyelitis anterior, 1877
  • Über die selbständige combinirte Seiten- und Hinterstrangsclerose des Rückenmarks, [Virchows] Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin, Berlin, 1876
  • Über einen im menschlichen Peritoneum gefundenen Nematoden, [Virchows] Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin, Berlin, volume LXXXI
  • Studien über Safraninfärbung, 1881
  • Bakterien des rothen Schweisses, 1881
  • Eine experimentelle Studie über den Einfluss des Nervensystems auf die pathologischen Veränderungen der Haut, with Arthur von Irsay, Vierteljahresschrift für Dermatologie
  • Les bactéries et leur rôle dans l’anatomie et l’histologie pathologiques des maladies infectieuses, Written with Victor André Cornil, 1 volume and Atlas, Paris, F. Alcan, 1885
  • Über isoliert färbbare Antheile von Bakterien, Zeitschrift für Hygiene, Leipzig, 1889, 5: 173-190
  • Observations sur la morve, Archives de médecine experimentale et d’anatomie pathologique, 1891, 3:619-645
  • Atlas der pathologischen Histologie des Nervensystems, with Georges Marinesco and Paul Oscar Blocq, Berlin, Hirschwald, 1892
  • Untersuchungen über Koch's Kommabacillus, [Virchows] Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin, Berlin
  • Untersuchungen über den Leprabazillus und über die Histologie der Lepra, Berlin, 1898
  • Beobachtungen über Riesenzellen, Stuttgart, 1905
  • Über die Notwendigkeit der AbVerfahrens der Wutbehandlungänderung des Pasteur'schen, Zeitschrift für Hygiene und Infektionskrankheiten, Leipzig, 1908, 58:401-412.